It is that time of year again! Pride month has arrived. Where company Logo’s explode with colour and our timelines and TVs are filled with inspirational stories celebrating LGBTQ+ communities. Pride is a time to celebrate the immense strides we have made, but also acknowledge that there are still steps to make. Unfortunately, pride month often tends to be treated as phase – a singular month of visibility for the LGBTQ+.
It is easy to forget that whilst the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 is often considered the year Homosexuality was decriminalized in the UK, it was in fact only in 2013 when Homosexuality was truly decriminalized – a scary reality. In today’s Britain – have we achieved equality? Perhaps a smaller and more actionable question we can ask ourselves is how inclusive our workplace is and what we can do to better ourselves in this regard. Here are some small changes you can make today to show your support for pride, not just in June, but every month.
Go beyond superficial support
For all those companies out there that believe the way to best show your support is to pay a graphic designer to colour in your logo - that is great, however it is objectively not a comprehensive D&I policy. Increasing awareness of pride and LGBTQ will always be a good thing, but pair it with something else that will have some impact.
Are you educating your employees or communities with blogs or events and sharing diverse voices? Listening to people within your organisation about your employee benefits package and culture – is it truly inclusive? What does your parental leave policy look like? Are you donating to charities that are entirely committed to supporting LGBTQ+ communities? This is where you will truly make an impact. So, if you're gonna get involved and show your allyship or support, do some research into the many different foundations you can help and how you can raise awareness within your company.
Pride charities you could donate to:
Don’t be afraid to ask the question and educate yourself – never assume
Simple assumptions that are not in themselves malicious, are commonplace in the modern workplace. A stellar example, the question of “do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?” – this is often a friendly attempt to learn more about a colleague outside of work, but innocently creates an instant division or disconnect, it can make LGBTQ+ people feel uncomfortable. It’s easy to feel like you are treading on eggshells when it comes to diversity and inclusion – but this mentality isn’t productive.
To be inclusive, we do not need to change significantly – we just need to employ some emotional intelligence! Whether it is the use of correct pronouns or not knowing how to handle a situation, we can approach this knowledge gap like any other; ask, educate yourself. For example, if you are unsure of what pronouns to use when speaking to someone, ask – it is in not asking that we potentially make incorrect assumptions and sour relationships unnecessarily. Be comfortable in making mistakes people – it is through mistakes that we learn.
It is through making these small changes and taking time to consider our actions that we make continuous improvement and take steps to become truly inclusive, I hope that some readers may go away and take something from this brief piece.